Thursday June 14th 2007
Kenai, AK

Another summer down in Kenai.  I was there from the 14th to the 18th to go after salmon.  The first few days I stayed with Scot, with whom I caught my kind back in 2005.  This year he had his own boat and its a nice one, a Fish Rite.  We went out with Kwikfish and sardines and within about five minutes of having the poles in the water and we had a fish on.  Since I was the guest and the out-of-stater I got first fish, good thing since it would be the only fish of the trip.  The fight was about like before, a fun bought, like a redfish on medium tackle.  When Scot netted it, I could see it was a bright silver (fresh) salmon and I was sure I was going to keep it.  We didn't fish much more before Scot called it a day.  I was happy to stay out there as the weather was just perfect.  We fished a few more days, but never caught anything.  We also went claming and it was fun to do it, but if I did it again, I'd have on those Kevlar gloves to keep my hands from getting cut up so bad.  It was a fun trip as usual and I left a day early.  Scot and Dave went out for halibut the day I flew home, oh well, that is how it goes.  I was too early for reds so Gina and I just hung out and did some shopping.

Thursday August 9th 2007
Port Mansfield, TX

Another trip down to Port Mansfield.  Dwayne, Keith, and myself drove down and we met Ross and two of his buddies who were there.  Greg wussed out this year, his gf has his balls in a sack.  We went out as soon as we got our gear ready and I caught a few small specs and Dwayne caught a nice red.  If memory serves, it was 28 inches.

Friday August 10th 2007
Port Mansfield, TX

In the morning it was Keith, Dwayne, and myself.  We did some wading and all boxed some fish, I caught a red and trout.  While we were wading we had something chasing bait fish all around us.  It would of been cool to watch if we weren't in the water with it boiling all around us, but since we never say any fins or tails, it was probably jacks.  That night Ross joined us and all caught some fish.  Ross and I up front added some reds and more trout and were in the hot spot.


Saturday August 11th 2007
Port Mansfield, TX

We got off late that morning but we headed out to the jetties for some different action and it wasn't long before we had blowups on topwaters.  I kept trying to set the hook too early and was pulling it out of their mouths.  Dwayne caught some really nice trout and I finally set the hook on what turned out to be a mangrove snapper.  Pretty cool.  The bite was too short and we soon headed in.  That afternoon we did some drifting but didn't pull in much.  We all went to bed early dreaming about getting to the jetties early.

Sunday August 12th 2007
Port Mansfield, TX

This morning we got there early, but the bite was nothing like the day before.  We had some blow ups early, but nothing in the net.  I'm pretty sure a turtle hit my lure as when I set the hook it felt like I was hung and my soft plastic was cut in half when I got it back to the boat.  Closer till 9 we started getting some action.  Dwayne caught a nice fish, and after it was in Keith set the hook on a nice fish.  I was watching him fight it and not really paying attention to my lure and a nice trout hit it, but I failed to set the hook and after a few seconds it spit the lure.  Damn, that would of been my best trout to date.  Keith lands it and that pretty much shuts down the bite.

Saturday September 1st 2007
Austin, TX

I'm not going to get into the cluster that lead up to Sept. 1st, but in short it involved me missing my flight to Houston and really messing up my tool box loading my ATV.  Collin was hunting with me for the first time since the fall of 2002; he moved to Memphis but moved back in the summer of 2007.  My brother drove up with some of his buddies, Brandon and Jeff.  Jeff hunts ducks and geese pretty often and this was Brandon's first hunt.  Austin was sitting about three times normal for rainfall so I wasn't sure how things were going to be.  I got there early and met Collin and we went looking for a field with the ATV.  All of it towards the back tank was pretty thick but the top of the hill was mowed short, so we chose that.  The birds started out pretty late and it worried my brother and I, but around 7:30 they started flying and they started flying pretty good.  It wasn't long before I had twelve in my bag and a few on the ground that were not to be found.  Collin got his limit pretty quick too.  Surprised me since he really hadn't had any real wing shooting in the past few years.  Jeff also had his limit and Andrew was having a tough go of it with a gun he really hadn't shot all that much and Brandon had a few.  I would of liked to have been able to watch him shoot more and help him out, but what little I did I gave him some pointers.  I was done at 9 and I think we called it around 10:30 or 11 so we would have time to go to Cabelas and get back and BBQ doves.  The birds were 65% WW and the rest mornings.  Oh, we got checked by the GW.  First time that's happened to me out there in a long while.  My brother and Brandon both left their licenses in other places and got a ticket for it.  My numbers were 15/41.


Sunday September 2nd 2007
Austin, TX

The previous afternoon we went to a field across the road and were shocked at the lack of birds flying so we went back to the top of the hill.  The first morning we noticed lots of WW flying about 35-45 yards and I was determined to bring one down so I put in a tight choke and used some pigeon loads.  I burned up close to a box with no success before I quit taking those shots.  Shooting like that throw off my other shots and around 9 I left to go walk down to some fields in hopes of jump shooting the rest of my limit.  I missed some easy shots and hit some good ones to finish up my limit around 10 with losing three.  I walked back up to the top to birddog for Collin and he had his limit shortly there after and Jeff was done about the same time as well.  I then walked down with my brother and Brandon to help them out.  Andrew had gone something close to two birds for 35 shots in his O/U before switching to his Extrema 2 then he shot 6/6.  While down jumping birds they picked up two or three before we made our way to the tank.  The put down three more birds there before everyone was out of ammo.  21/50

Monday September 3rd 2007
Austin, TX

For the most part the past two days were dry and hot and the birds flew late.  Well that all changed for Monday and Tuesday hunts.  My brother and his group left Sunday night as did Collin.  I met Andy at my Godmother's a bit before 7 and by the time we got to the field I wanted to and put out the mojo's we already had birds dive bombing us.  The past two days the mojo's really didn't work all that, the sure did today.  I don't know how many birds we shot about a foot off the ground with their feet out ready to land.  The weather also reminded me of Houston, It was hot and muggy and the air was thick like you could it with a knife.  I shot pretty well with my SBE2 and actually got a Scotch Double and Andy got a double.  Andy was done around 10:15 and I finished at 10:30 going 14/31 with loosing two birds.  Just about all of our birds were morning doves.  I'm pretty sure we heard some whistlers in the area that morning too.  That night I met Andy and Lauren for dinner at the Salt Lick, hmm... good.

Tuesday September 4th 2007
Austin, TX

We changed fields today to one with shorter grass and it was all green.  It was also right behind a tank about the size of an acre.  We put out dual mojo's and were ready for sun up.  It didn't take long before we had birds trying to land on the decoys.  We also got to see about twenty teal buzz the decoys and land in the tank.  That was really cool!  Shooting was faster today and I went 14/40 loosing one bird and shooting a pigeon and Andy was done just about the same time I was at 9.

Wednesday September 5th 2007
Austin, TX

Today I went back to the top of the hill with my O/U and I got a limit pretty fast.  I was done at 9:15 shooting 12/33 with seven white-wings and the rest mornings.  At the top of the hill you had to be careful with your shots due some trouble neighbors and at the top of the hill was the house.

Thursday September 6th 2007
Austin, TX

I thought I would  hunt the front field today and from the beginning I didn't like where I was set so I kept moving.  I ended up sitting under a dead tree hoping to shoot some doves as they came rest.  My first or second bird was a long shot that I shouldn't of taken and didn't end up finding the bird.  I picked up one of two more birds before I got frustrated and moved to the back field.  Adding to my frustration was me taking some long shots and missing and having lots of birds fly towards the road where I couldn't shoot.  But finally I got my limit and didn't loose any birds in the back field.  I shot 13/37 and was done by 10:30.

Friday September 7th 2007
Austin, TX

I slept in today since I was meeting my girlfriend that evening in the field.  So I decided I was going to take it easy and just setup in the corner a field planed with hay grazer and try to pull in a few birds with some mojo's.  It wasn't long before I had a bird in my game bag.  Ginger showed up a little before 7 and I added one more by the time she got ready.  She borrowed her dad's Benelli M1 20 ga. and I wanted to try it.  Two shots later I had one more bird in the bag.  We saw a few land in the field and I thought jumping birds would be easier for her to hit so we walked where they were but they must have walked because they never jumped.  While at a fence I knocked down a white-wing in some thick blood weeds but I found it, pure luck.  After I got back I passed shooting some birds because I wanted her to shoot and she didn't.  We got into a big disagreement and decided it was best to pack it up.  I went 6 for 12 and I'm pretty confident I could have limited out by dark if we had stayed.

Saturday September 8th 2007
Austin, TX

So today was Ginger's first real day of dove hunting.  I setup in the same field with the short green grass near the tank that Andy and I hunted on the 4th.  We got there earlier to be ready, but instead of muggy dreary weather it was hot and clear.  Nice thing about being there early was we got to see a few groups of teal in the area.  We didn't have birds like the early part of that week, but we had enough for her to shoot at.  I tried to put her on all the shots I could but she just couldn't seem to get any.  I picked up six morning doves and two white-wings with twenty shots before we called it quits around 10:00.  One of the WW I would not have found without her, we had two different spots and she was right.  We went back and I showed her how to clean birds and prepare them for BBQ and got ready for listen to the Aggies.  I went outside when it was 19 - 0 and come back when its 22 all.  Jesus, 3OT?  No wonder I had gray hair at 24.


Sunday September 9th 2007
Austin, TX

After cussing at Fran and drinking way too much, 5:30 came early.   But I was really wanted Ginger to get a bird so we loaded up and headed out.  We tried a different field this time with more sunflower hoping there would be more birds coming to it.  I think we would have but the fog was HORRIBLE and didn't  burn off till around 9.  Three teal buzzed the mojo's about a foot off them.  That was cool to see, but just not many doves flying.  And considering the fact that Ginger had to leave that day, we chose not to spend it in the field waiting on birds.  I shot 6/16 with one WW.  It was a fun weekend and again today as was yesterday she had a better spot than I did and found a bird that I would have lost.  Hopefully next time she will get a bird.

Monday September 10th 2007
Austin, TX

I had planned to hunt until Wednesday but after the lack of birds seen flying today, I decided to pack up and head home after tomorrows hunt.   I didn't shoot any birds at the top of the hill.  I went across the road to the back field before I even saw many flying.  There were enough flying to convince me to hunt back there the next day.  I got two white-wings at the top of the back field before walking down to my truck where I picked up two more and lost a third.  I shot pretty bad with 5/17.  I packed up everything at Dripping and got ready for tomorrow, but wow, it rained something awful that night and all night and in the morning.  I woke up at 5 the next morning in hopes of getting on the road early, but I had a bad headache and slept till 6.  At 6 I got up to a good rain fall and decided to call it good and just head home.  I had a fun trip as always and there is just something special about chasing those gray birds.

This is my favorite purchase of the season.  One use in the field and it paid for itself.

Saturday September 15th 2007
Winnie, TX

I had a whole weekend planned out, but was shot to shit as Andrew and I looked for open water at the Lissie lease and found none.  So Andrew and I decided to hunt Winnie.  We were a bit late in getting out there and it didn't help that my ATV was giving me trouble so I couldn't go as far as I wanted too.  Luckily, it didn't matter, as we setup and didn't see any birds in the air.  I put out two dozen decoys and Andrew setout two mojo's and then we waited.  Around 7:30 a single BWT skirts the decoys and I take two shots and bag my first teal of the season.  A few more birds look over us but no big groups.  A single starts to work and my brother calls the shot way too far out and it flies away unharmed.  After that I decide to move us to a grass clump about 15 yards to the left of our spread.  My brother says something and I look over to see him stand up and shoot a lone teal that came out of no-where.  That pretty much shuts down the action.  We started putting up around 9 and just as my brother is getting on my ATV about twenty teal come into the pond we were at.  He takes three shots and doesn't cut a feather.

Sunday September 16th 2007
Lissie, TX

My brother talked to the guys on the other lease and they got a six man limit, so we decided to hunt out there in the rice.  After getting in late from College Station, 4:15 came early when Andrew showed up.  He ended up getting lost so we got off later than we wanted, but made it up on the road.  Once we got dressed and all the gear on the ATV it was a short run to the cut in the rice field.  There wasn't much open water, but four mojo's and a handful of decoys worked.  LST sounded like a war zone, there were shots everywhere.  A bird tried to sneak in right at LST and my brother took a shot that missed but the bird came back around and I made sure he didn't leave.  Next we had four that came over our backs and no-one took a shot so I did.  I missed, but if I hit the bird it would of fallen right in the open area instead of the uncut rice.  Then we started getting pairs and small groups and started adding to the body count.  Finding birds in that uncut rice was pretty tough so we started running out to the bird as soon as it fell.  No going for doubles.  There were times I was already out running and there were still shots being fire.  Not the safest thing I know, but I got my birds.  After some good shooting and some shitty shooting we call it quits with three short in hand for six of us.  It sure is fun to watch those birds work and I saw my brother hit a bird close enough to see the shot move the bird back as he blew the bottom half of the bird apart.  During this hunt we saw a flock of twenty or so teal about a 150 yards out flying parallel to us.  Dave and I decided to call at them just incase.  He was blowing a quack and I a whistle.  Andrew said he already wrote them off as not interested, but as soon as I hit that whistle with some peeps they turned hard and came into us.  We were all kinda shocked, and this was only the third time during my years of bird hunting that I can say for out a doubt a call  brought them in.  Once was with Brent on a pintail hunt at Halls and the other was with Jason shooting mallards up in DFW area.

Thursday October 4th 2007
Back in Canada

My brother and I flew into Calgary for a little early duck and goose action north of the border.  This was his first trip and my second and we went with Brian at Blackfoot again, see my trip from two years ago for more details on it.  We flew into Calgary on a later flight that arrived at 2:55 instead of the one that landed at 12:30.  I'm not sure which I prefer, yes we got to sleep in a bit more at home, but we got to the lodge right at dark with our flight.  I was upgraded a few days before the flight and as soon as I checked in I put Andrew on the upgrade list.  TSA and security were worse this time.  The CO person that checked us in didn't know what to do, so it took a few phone calls to get a TSA person there and he knew the drill.  When going through security the dumbass made me take out my PDA and DVD player for my laptop saying I should have been doing that since January 1st.  I later looked it up and it is only full sized DVD players, not the ones for computers.  Oh and I had one that said my spare laptop battery was causing the machine errors.  Wow, how do these people get through life without someone reminding them to breathe?  Anyways, once past that we killed time in the Presidents club but the damn WLAN was up and down so we couldn't get any real work done and both of needed to VPN in to work.  Once we got to the gate they said they weren't processing upgrades until 20 minutes before the flight was supposed to leave, but they had the plane fully loaded around 30 minutes before, so we waited till the very end to board and sure enough he got upgraded.  That was also his first time to fly FirstClass.  Ask him about drinking lots of sweet drinks on a four hour flight.  Anyways, once we landed we cleared customs with ease and went over to Wal-mart for some supplies.  Side note, there were some super hot customs agents!  They need to be behind a bar not at the airport wearing a flak jacket.  Anyways after  hitting Wal-mart and a few more stores we finally went East towards Alsask.  Close to the lodge I call my gf and update her to our status and where we are.  I tell her we are about 90 miles away and my brother who is driving says, we'll be there in under an hour.  She says, did he just say you'll be there in under an hour?!?  Ah... no he did not.  The GPS said the total distance was 218.64 miles covered in 3 hours and 35 minutes, not too bad at all considering two stops along the way.  We arrived around 8:30 PM to meet everyone and unload all the gear, grab a bite and drink and fall asleep.  4:45 would come early the next AM.

I had hunted with Brian two years ago and met Jimmy on that trip, he came back last year and met Dick who was also from East Texas.  Both of them were back this time along with my brother and I and two of Brian's clients from Lubbock, Cary and Scott.  I woke to my alarm got dressed and made a dash for coffee next door as soon as I was ready.  Andrew and I put all of our gear in Brian's quad cab Dodge and we headed out for a 45 minute drive to some pea fields.  This year Brian had new decoys, Greenhead Gear RealMotion decoys and they looked great!  With a slight breeze they rotated back and forth and a nice benefit from the outfitters standpoint is they could put out the stakes in the pattern they wanted and have the clients put out the decoys.  Once all the decoys were setout we got ready under the blankets we used before.  One problem early was lack of wind.  The birds were coming in to the field, but they just didn't lock up and finish like they were supposed too.  We shot all of our specs, and 33 of our ducks but the action took a little longer than we all had hoped.  It was cold that morning too, even a little snow fell.  By the time we had picked up and were out of the field and got to the restaurant, they had already stopped serving breakfast.  Damn, I was looking for some good bacon and eggs.

That afternoon we went to a closer field and used layout blinds, I think they were FA Eliminator Expresses.  They worked pretty good, I think if the stubble straps were made of bungee material it would of been faster to stuff them.  Well this afternoon the birds wanted to play but all we could do was take pictures of the specs and shoot fifteen ducks and any snows or Canadas that got within range.  My brother got some nice video I hope to upload one of these days of some specs landing in the spread and of two ducks being shot.  I would have given anything to pretend like the AM hunt didn't happen and shoot the decoying birds all afternoon.  Oh well, here are the results.  After clean up it was back to the house for a good Alberta Beef steak and sleep.

Friday October 5th 2007
Alsask, Saskatchewan

We got to sleep in till around 5:30 this morning as we were hunting "15 minutes away," ha!  Well I got all my gear in Brian's jeep and was enjoy some coffee and breakfast when we were told to load up.  About half way there I remembered my jacket, I left it on the couch while getting coffee.  Luckily it wasn't as cold today and my brother had a Drake 4n1 so he let me wear the liner and I was good with that.  It was windy today, just how it should be and we were in the layout blinds.  I was messing with stuff in the blind when a group of specs came in hard and I think its a bit early, but Brain says if these keep coming we are going to shoot them.  Hell I was sitting up wasn't even loaded.  I load up post haste and lie down just in time for the shot to be called.  14 minutes later we had a limit of specs on the ground.  The hunt was just like you see in the videos, its how waterfowl hunting in Canada is supposed to be.  In either 30 minutes or an hour we shot our limit of ducks, so we spent the rest of the morning waiting for snows and Canada's to decoy and we all took pictures and video of the decoying birds.  Shoots like that spoil you.


With such a good hunt that morning we were down to only snows and the mythical Canada goose to shoot in the evening.  The guides decided on a field that had lots of snows and figured we would get more shooting, sounds good.  They find this awesome natural depression in the field with a high bank in front and we covered up in the blankets with piles of grass on us, damn we looked good.  You couldn't see us unless you were directly above us, the geese never stood a chance.  Lucky for them, only nine geese wanted to play, well only nine we could shoot.  I don't care what Jimmy says about the three lessers, when the shot was called, my gun got hung up in that damn blanket and I never got a shot off.  I'm pretty sure my brother shot two and Jimmy rolled the on on the far left.  Add six more snows and that was it for the evening hunt.  For dinner that night we had Jalapeņo and spec wraps, hmm.... good, except for the couple that were part habanero, christ a few were hot.  After too much to eat and drink and hearing Brian tell the story of how he jumped on the back of a wounded deer and tried to kill it I had enough and turned in.

Saturday October 6th 2007
Alsask, Saskatchewan

Cliff said he found a field full of birds for us, so we left about the same time as the day before, but this time it was really only 15 minutes.  We set up on the edge of some stubble and waited.  There really wasn't all that much wind, and we hoped it would pick up as the day went along.  The birds were coming over our backs and not decoying well at all, but we starting bringing them down.  I'm pretty sure I got my first triple and it was on specs.  Once the sun came up all that stopped and we had to move.  We moved to the other side of the stubble and we put a handful of decoys on this little hill and the birds started to work better.  One more adjustment to have them finish more in the middle of the firing line and we started dropping birds.  I felt pretty good about my shooting today and its one of the few times I put my gun down to let others get in some shooting.  The four of us from Texas were the hot shooters and when we would miss we'd heckle each other.  Well a pair of ducks came in on my side and the two non-Texans and I think they have 'em so I don't raise my gun, six shots and the birds keep flying.  Dick yells down, "What happened there Brad!?!", and I told him I didn't shoot, and there is just silence...  Anyways we picked up all of our ducks and are actually pretty close on specs too with a few lessers as well.  We had one incident I want to talk about.  After calling the shot, the dog went out and she stepped right on my brothers gun that was on the ground.  Her pad hit the safety and her claws must have hit the trigger because it fired.  At first no-one knew what happened and Andrew looks over and notices his gun is slid back about two feet, after a moment of silence we thought of the dogs safety so we called her over and she was fine.  I saw her run by but it happened so fast I never thought her causing the gun to go off and she never showed any signs of it frightening her.  I know Andrew and I were a bit shaken up, I missed the next two groups of birds after that incident.  So one thing I will always be doing when field hunting with a dog is to put my hand over the trigger guard when the dog goes out for birds.

That was our Canada Hunting Trip 2007.  I've been asked a lot of questions about packing and tips, etc.  Ok, so one thing I really was glad we had were Peet Boot Dryers.  I brought up my own two years ago but Brian brought them for each room this year, hard to beat warm boots at 5:00 in the morning.  I wore Columbia bib overalls and a parka with Cabela's Waderwise pants and Under Armour cold gear.  I had on some Cabela's gloves and a fleece beanie and I was dressed warm enough.  I brought a Drake pullover that never left the suitcase.  Brian also had a washer and dryer if needed so I would pack light.  Bring your field gear, then stuff to wear under it, and then one change of clothes to wear on the flight.  Gloves are a must, putting out decoys without them sucks and if you ears get cold I would bring something too.  The temperature ranged from high 30's to mid 50's with it getting windy on us one day.  It did rain on us pretty good one day so there is a chance things will get wet and muddy.  Some good insulated boots with wool socks are important too.  As far as chokes go, I used LM most of the time and on days when they wouldn't finish, I put in a terror tube .675.  I would of used an IC choke if I had one most of the days.  I brought some basic cleaning supplies and a double gun case that I really liked to carry both guns in to the field.  We flew out of Calgary at three on Sunday and I think I would fly out earlier.  Nothing worse that getting back home late and being tired and having to clean birds for hours.  I'll try to add more as I think of it.

Saturday November 3rd 2007
Winnie, Texas

Kinda shocking to me, but Brent and the boys were missing opening day for a race, so Andrew and I went out there along with Ginger.  She wasn't gonna shoot, but just  be there for the experience (and what an experience it turned out to be).  As usual for opening day hunts there were many issues.  The first one, was when we got to the boat, the grab bar was missing.  If you have never driven a go-devil without a grab bar, its not very fun.  Next up was getting to our spot and seeing the boat is taking on water pretty fast.  Hmm... no plugs.  Usually someone pulls the plugs and hang it on the grab bar to let you know its out, kinda hard with no grab bar.  Ok so we get to the spot and start putting out decoys while sweating and trying to keep away the vampires.  After having to q-beam people on the lease to stay away we finally were ready and just waited on LST.  It wasn't long after that we had some birds work us out front, but on the last pass you could tell they weren't coming in so we shot.  I crippled one and started a foot race in thick mud.  I made it as far as I could and took a shot to put her down before she made it to the grass.  First bird, gadwall hen.  We saw plenty more birds but none wanted in.  I felt the boat was too visible and we moved it but it was probably too little too late.  A little while more we had two mottleds work us and when one split off towards me I brought it down.  I was still pretty winded from earlier so my brother went to get it for me.  As he got close I heard him yell/scream like I had only heard one other time, it was when he stepped on a six foot rattle snake, so I knew at once he stepped on a gator.  He guessed it was close to eight foot, but he did get my bird.  Ginger said after that she was not getting out of the boat, no matter what.  After a few of the other groups were picking up I guessed their motors scared up some birds and we had some teal come in so fast I just reacted and shot too close, literally blowing the head off a bird.  After that we called it quits.  Not quite the opener I had hoped for Ginger's first duck hunt, at least, she will never forget it.

No they are not my Oakley's

Sunday November 4th 2007
Lissie, Texas

After the piss poor day before we decided to head to the other lease where there were reports of a few ducks and lots of dumb geese.  There was a little corner of water, so we put out a few duck decoys and then helped the rest of our group put out the geese decoys.  Our plan was to catch the first flight and then run out to the goose spread.  We each shot a teal and then the ducks shut down so we went to the spread.  While we were setting out rags, we each dug a little back rest into some deep tire ruts and lined them with rice straw.  Once we got to the spread the guys had already shot a spec apiece and one snow plus a teal.  It didn't take more than five minutes before we shot three more specs and and a snow.  After that we started picking out some young specs to eat and we all had ours but Brandon, it was his first goose hunt so it took him a bit longer to fill his, but he did it on a nice barred mature spec.  After that we waited for some snows and put a total of six rosses and two snows on the ground.  Not to bad at all.

Monday November 5th 2007
Eagle Lake, Texas

I talked to my buddy Andy the past couple of days and they have been doing well and he wanted to hunt a place that needed an ATV.  I was more than happy to bring the ATV and get a chance at some more ducks.  Foggy as all hell that morning, one of those when any flashlight was too bright and you just used the moon to find the water and the blind.  With no wind to help clear away the fog it was pretty tough to get the birds to see us.  All the teal were skirting us pretty good and we had to make some tough shots.  We had two each when a pair of gadwall got too close and we dropped them.  A little later I had a pintail hen try to land on the mojo and with some backup shooting from Andy, we got her.  The birds pretty much shut down after we each picked up our birds hiding in some brush along the edge of the tank.  Not great, but better than work.  Thanks again Andy.

Tuesday November 6th 2007
Lissie, Texas

Throughout the weekend I was feeling worse and worse and today I was barely able to hunt.  My brother couldn't hunt long so we just decided to try and pass shoot some geese at the lease.  Some guys beat us to the spot we wanted so we settled for a different field that turned out to be great for us.  While we were waiting for the geese to fly, a GWT flew down the levy and I added her to the bag.  Soon after that the geese started to fly.  Several specs landed in the field we were hunting the edge of and we decided to go lay in the tire ruts and see how close they would get.  Turns out they got close enough.  My brother raised up on some and actually got two specs with one shot, he turned to me all excited to inquiry if I had shot or did he really get a double, in fact he did, a Scottish Double.  Like I said I was feeling pretty bad and my shooting showed.  It took me a while, but I got a nice young bird and then picked up a nicely barred one and we were done.  That would be my last hunt of the hitch as I was feeling worse and worse and I went to the doctor on that Monday and he said I have strep and something else, maybe mono.  He gave me some Augmentin in hopes it would kill the strep pretty quick, nope, I only got worse.  Finally on Saturday I called the office and the on-call doc. gave me a Z-pac.  That really didn't do anything either, so on the Monday before I flew back to AK I went in and they gave me a shot of cortisone and in two days I got a lot better.  It sucked, all I did was sleep.  I missed some good hunting and my cardio went to hell.

Saturday December 1st 2007
Lissie, Texas

My first day back since being sick and I wanted to hunt, we had no water and only a few geese, but I was still happy.  My brother bought two Final Approach S.U.B. blinds so we hunted in those and met Trey out there with his old layout blind.  I would guess we put out close to 600 rags and then enjoyed the cool morning and waited.  It wasn't long after legal that we had a spec come in PERFECT.  I mean just like you want them to, unfortunately I was still rusty and they gave me two shots before they opened up and the goose dropped.  We had a few more trickle in and my brother had a great shot of a snow behind us and we called it with four geese.  Not great, but it could of been a lot worse.

Saturday December 8th 2007
Lissie, Texas

The lease got some much needed rain and we were planning on hunting ducks.  We got a spot and setup a pretty big spread with Jeff and his dad and my brother, myself, and Brandon.  I was sitting on the far right of the spread and the first bird of the AM was a drake mallard that floated in near the mojo and I let him get pretty close before I cut loose some #4.  I was a little bit behind him but at that range I had enough pellets find their mark.  Shortly after that the teal started showing up and we starting dropping them.  A pair of pintails worked us and they split with one going to the right and one to the left.  I couldn't ID drake or hen, so I didn't shoot until someone shot the one on the left and everyone kept yelling shoot shoot, so I broke down and shot.  Damn, I knew better... sure enough it was a hen.  Turns out both of them were hens and a little later I shot a spoonie hen, great shot, but still a spoonie.

Sunday December 9th 2007
Lissie, Texas

The next day it was just me, Andrew, and Brandon and the wind was right to hunt a field holding water.  We had to grass up blinds so we got there early and put out Andrew's SUBs and my Avery Finisher.  I had built a jerk string and this was the first chance I had to test it out.  Turns out, I need two different styles, one for deeper (knee+) and one for shallow flats.  We put out two pods, one left with mostly teal and gadwall, and I put my pintails to the right; each group had their respective mojos.  We were covered up in teal from first light on.  Everyone shot their 4 and we waited to see if any pintails wanted to play... no they did not.  We had a mallard hen come in and while Andrew and Brandon were questioning to shoot it or let it go, I dropped her; I'm done.  Next up, Andrew took a long shot to drop a spoonie drake and when nothing else got close for thirty minutes we decided to pick up.  After I took Brandon and the gear back to truck, I went back with the ATV to look for cripples and Andrew did the same in the water and sure enough he found one more teal, sweet, three man limit.

Monday December 10th 2007
Lissie, Texas

Today was just one more example of meteorology being on the same level as dowsing.  The low was supposed to be in the mid-to-hi 60's, so when my brother picked me up and it was closer to mid-to-hi 50's I didn't think much of it.  Until it kept dropping, and dropping.  By the time we got to the lease it read 48 on his truck thermometer and there was a good  20 MPH wind out of the SE.  And all I was wearing was hip waders, camo jeans and a long sleeve camo shirt.  Thankfully my brother had two jackets in his truck and even with that my teeth still chattered in the layout blind all morning.  Did I mention it was also misting and impossible to see?  I turned on my M1-R just to see what it looked like and with all the reflection it looked like a giant white lightsaber.  Oh and I was hung over horribly.  Don't ever drink muscle milk on a queasy stomach, trust me.  We setup 2-3 dozen teal and waited.  Right at LST we had a pair of spoonies land in the dekes we didn't let get away and that was it for ducks.  Hindsight we should of setup a goose spread, because those geese were fighting it.  We shot a spec and snow and should of had more even over a duck spread, but with some SilloSocks and in our layout blinds we should of been in the double digits.

Thursday December 27th 2007
Damon, Texas

Andrew and I were supposed to go to Damon on the 26th and try for cranes but I left my parking pass and gate combo card at home, so that didn't happen.  So we did it again on the 27th with Brandon this time.  It was a pretty easy setup, drove the ATV for about half a mile, setup 8 sillosock cranes and some rags and the layout blinds.  Well no cranes, we heard some but never saw any.  But my brother did a belly crawl on a pond near us and got a hen mottled.  Oh and it was 28 that morning, fun.

Friday December 28th 2007
Lissie, Texas

After the kick in the ass the day before we went out to Lissie.  I was still after cranes, so we set them up, some ducks, and some geese rags.  It was kind of a weird day, we should of had more teal, we whiffed on two specs (it was bad), and possibly some cranes.  Hindsight, I would of setup next to my brother in some rags, but oh well, I shot a drake pintail in Texas finally.

Sunday December 30th 2007
Damon, Texas

Andrew has been looking for a drake mottled for the wall for years so we went out to Damon for a try at them.  We setup in a pond we saw birds flying around on the 27th.  Right at LST came in a mottled that was talking up a storm, so we let it pass, then a little later came in a pair.  Those also got a pass mainly because we couldn't ID them and they were also kinda small.  A short time later a pair of GWT came in hard and landed before we could move.  We stood up and I dropped the one on the left and we both hit the one on the right but it kept flying.  After another half hour we packed up and went over to some other fields and setup the cranes.  We heard lots, but none got close.

Friday January 4th 2008
Lissie, Texas

After my brother bailing on me the two days before, we set out for Lissie in hopes that ducks were down.  Nope.  We never fired a shot at ducks and took some high shots at geese.  There were a lot of cracklers in the area, so I wanted to go back out with just dark rags and layout blinds, but with the no guests rule, I couldn't bring Ginger so we went to Winnie.

Saturday January 5th 2008
Winnie, Texas

I thought I would try something different today (ie, go somewhere else) and since I could bring guests, I wanted to get Ginger on her first duck, so we went to Winnie.  Her first duck hunt SUCKED (read above), hot and tons of vampires.  Wow, turns out this one was pretty close.  No ducks.  Got buzzed by some teal and had someone "point" in the direction of a teal only to have it blow through the decoys.  A nice "bird on the left!" would of  worked much better.  We heard a fair number of shots in the distance, but we really didn't see a large number of birds in the sky.  What's that water sound?  Oh, its water rushing into my boots and its muddy, and cold.  Lovely.

Thursday January 24th 2008
Lissie, Texas

Since my last hunt Brandon got me a new pair of waders, since my old ones were pretty holy.  We got a ton of rain while I was in AK and the area had water everywhere.  Andrew and I had planned to go out to Damon and hunt there but Brandon was off that day so we ended up going to Lissie and put out a spread and rags.  We saw a lot more birds, but nothing wanted to work.  They kept landing out in the middle of the sheet water that was 5-10 acres.  So we changed plans and grabbed a few decoys and went across the water to try a different side.  No luck.  I took a long shot and rolled a drake spoonie but that was it.  So we then thought about trying to pass shot so we went the top of the water and tried to get them coming over us, but our only chance was ruined by someone looking the other way and birds flew right over us.  A long cold hunt with lots of decoys to pickup and one bird to show.

Friday January 25th 2008
Damon, Texas

So today when we back to plan A.  An easy hunt at Damon, no ATV, not big group of decoys.  We parked the truck, pick four pintail hens and walked to the blind.  Not much wind or action, but we had two mottled come in and land just outside of range, figures.  We sit and BS and hear something that sounds like a very bad goose call.  Andrew has his binoculars and we see a guy with a small spread about 500 yards away.  That was pretty much it for the hunt.  We drove around on the roads and looked for better areas to hunt and jump a few mottleds from sheet water and that was it.  After we left the property, we saw why there wasn't much flying.  Thousands of pintails and snow geese not a mile from where we were hunting.

  Saturday January 26th 2008
Lissie, Texas

Our best lock had been at 4 so we went back there and setup on the East side even though the went wasn't going to work for us.  We did have a ton of wind, so movement wouldn't be a problem, two groups of decoys with both spinners.  Oh and Andrew was HUNGOVER!  Big time, it was kind of funny actually.  Nothing great shooting wise, teal and spoonies, but it was the best in the past many hunts so we called it a duck season after that.

Friday February 1st 2008
near Lubbock, Texas

Another crane trip out to West Texas.  I met Alan and Josh at Mike's house and we left close to 10:30 Thursday AM.  This year we took three ATV's and two trucks driving up.  I rode with Alan in Mike's truck on the way up there.  Honest to god the wind was 30+ most of the drive, head wind.  Alan had driven before and he guessed we lost 30 miles per tank compared to last year it was that bad.  We pulled in right around dark and after a little BS'ing and planning we crashed.

Talk about cold, it must have been 18 or 19 degrees at the lowest.  We setup around 800 rags, two dozen full body cranes and a handful of Canada full body decoys.  With eight shooters we had a pretty wide spread shooting line and after the first few cranes started to flare we decided to split up.  Hindsight shows we didn't have faith in the spread and gave up too soon, but Josh and I went to the right and Alan and Todd went to the left leaving Chad, Mike, and John.  Carson went WAY right of the spread into another field.  Almost as soon as we got to the fence Josh dropped a nice crane from way up there and a few minutes later I got my first one.  The other guys on the far left were shooting and bringing down birds as well.  The cranes kept seeming to slide just enough down from us to not come over us and Josh went back to the spread, but I waited it out.  Not too long after I hear Carson shooting from behind me and he is dropping a few cranes as well.  I see a single that is shot at from the spread and comes over towards me, so I start doing my best crane call out of my spec call and it works.  The crane starts looking for what's calling and gets lower and lower and lower and I finally take my shot at 20 yards.  I miss my first two shots flat out but my third and final shot connect and dead crane.  My third and final crane was again coming from the other direction, and I think I shot behind it every time, but enough hit the vital area between the three shots because he went down hard and never got up.  Towards the end of the hunt I see Carson headed back towards me with birds in tow, he had his three cranes and two cracklers.  Ended up we got a full eight man limit, the four guys in the spread got theirs too.

Saturday February 2nd 2008
near Lubbock, Texas

After we hunted we drove around and looked for more birds.  We found some feeding up on a hill.  Chad found out who owned the land and after a few phone calls we got permission to hunt the place.  Once we got there in the morning we found a natural little draw that was great cover.  So we started setting decoys on both sides of it with most of them in back.  Then once we moved the bikes we just sat and waited.  Carson and I had originally chosen the left side but nope, the birds finished to the right, so after the right side dropping six birds in one volley we slid down there.  From the next group to finish we dropped five birds, pretty cool to see.  Then the birds shifted yet again, so again Carson and I moved back left.  Just as we got settled what looked like greaters flew over us, they were kind of high but hittable.  No-one wanted to shoot, but it sure would have been nice to hold up a greater next to a crane.  Finally it was down to two birds, one for Carson and one for myself.  A single came in nice and low and I let Carson shoot three times before I dropped the bird.  The last bird was a tough shot, but he hit it with all three shots, then everyone shot it to make sure it didn't get away.  That night we decided to cook up the birds, damn that is good stuff.  Chad's roommate was along for this hunt so the total was 27 birds.

Sunday February 3rd 2008
near Lubbock, Texas

Just like the day before we did some scouting.  We found one plowed (bare) field stacked full of cranes feeding.  Again Chad found the owner and we were ok to hunt it.  After we put out the decoys we all got in a line and waited for the birds.  We had two nice volleys that dropped five and six birds, that was pretty cool to see for hunters who like to shoot decoying birds.  After that it was singles and doubles that put us pretty close to the limit.  Our final ones, or so we thought, came into the far right where Mike and Chad were, these birds were fully committed, 15 yards off the deck with their feet down... six shots later and the birds flew off unharmed.  Wow, Ginger could have hit those birds.  Ok, a short time after two more come in and they weren't as low but still they should have hit them, and again nothing.  We called it after that.  While everyone was picking up decoys, a single crane comes in and Todd crushes it.  After the guys with the ATVs go looking for  birds we ended up only three short for eight of us.  Not bad at all, sure as hell beat sleeping in.